June 29, 2009

I Second That Motion!

There is a bit of repeated sentiment of the last post in this post, but so be it...

David Kahn has successfully completed his first NBA Draft for the Wolves and it sort of comes as a mixed bag. He didn’t do what the Vikings like to do and miss his pick, but the picks he did make left most people scratching their heads. Taking Ricky Rubio at 5 was a no brainer, even if he doesn’t ever wear a Wolves uniform. He was the guy they had targeted, the second best talent in the draft, and he plays a position we have a dire need to fill. I’ll be really sad if we don’t get to see him in a Wolves uniform, but I won’t necessarily hold the team responsible for that – they did what they had to do. But more on that later…

Flynn at 6 is a bit more confusing. At first, when they made this pick, I was sure they were going to make a deal - Sacramento-for-Evans was tops on my list of possibilities. But it didn’t happen, which was a bit disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jonny Flynn and I think he’ll make an excellent pro, but it just doesn’t make sense to take him after selecting Rubio. Talk about sending mixed messages to fans, not to mention what that might’ve said to Rubio. But, Flynn is talented, so I’ll let it slide.

Lawson at 18 was a nice pick, even if he was another point guard, and they turned him into a probably lottery pick next year.

I am not a huge fan of Wayne Ellington, but at #28, I think he’s a great value pick. He’s like Rashad McCants, minus all the headaches. Oh, and he’s 6’5” – really 6’5”. Unless there are other moves coming, he very well could be our opening night starting 2-guard.

I’m sad they traded Nick Calathes, I really think he is going to be a player in the NBA in a couple years. He’s Mike Miller 2.0 – in a good way. He’s already got a contract in Greece, so you don’t even have to pay him while he develops his game overseas.

I only sort of understand the Henk pick – he’s Rubio’s teammate. To be fair, there was nothing useful available at #47, but I would’ve liked to have seen them try to package their two second-round picks, and move up. Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, Chase Budinger, and Jodie Meeks were on my second-round wish list.

Overall, I think that the Wolves did a solid job in the draft, as far as drafting talent and setting up future assets. Fans and experts are all confused right now but, that’s why we’re not general managers, so we’ll just have to see what eventually unfolds here.

On to a more pressing issue…

What Will Come of Ricky Rubio?

This is a question that is complex, confusing, infuriating, worrisome, and all together unanswerable at the moment. Most feel like he’ll never see the inside of a Wolves jersey, and the arguments are understandable. Moving countries at 18 years old is a huge change. Hell, moving 5 hours south to Iowa for four years felt like a massive life change at 18. I can’t even imagine what switching continents would be like. Minneapolis isn’t as glamorous as New York, Los Angeles, or even Chicago. We’re a liberal “little” community, but we don’t have the Spanish influence that a bigger, more diverse, city might be able to offer young Ricky and his family. Plus, it’s cold here and, even though I think it’s a weak argument used as an excuse in place of a real reason, it’s definitely a concern. So it makes sense why he might not want to play here – or rather thinks he doesn’t want to play here.

I’ve been pretty high on Rubio for quite some time, so I’m comfortable waiting a year or two while he finishes playing out his contract in Spain – he’s not going to get any worse in the next two years. What I don’t want to happen is for him to become the next Fredric Weis – yes, the guy who Vince Carter did this to. He was a lottery pick who told the NBA team to bite it and never came over to the U.S. to play basketball. I don’t believe Rubio would do it. He wants to play in the NBA too badly to skip out on the Wolves, thus forfeiting his chance to play in the NBA. But it is a possibility, one that worries me a bit.

“But Dave, he could just say he doesn’t want to play here and demand a trade.”

That’s true. He could do that. I don’t think he’ll publicly do that, but it’s certainly a possibility – probably the most likely of them all. So what could we get for him? Quite a bit I think, from the right buyer at least. Sacramento passed on drafting him at #4, but on the same day, they made a trade to get Sergio Rodriguez, his back court mate on the Spanish National team. And who in their right mind believes that Beno Udrih is mentally strong enough to develop into a starting quality point guard on a consistent basis? Not I. Unlikely scenario, but you never know, maybe the Kings are having second thoughts on their selection.

D’Antoni is said to be hard up for Rubio, but the Knicks have nothing but total garbage to offer. The experts keep talking about Wilson Chandler and either David Lee or Nate Robinson in a sign-and-trade. I want NOTHING to do with ANY of that garbage. Sure, they’re all nice players, but we don’t need another undersized power forward, or another shoot-first point guard.

The nice thing about the situation is that the Wolves don’t have to be in any kind of hurry to make a decision. Rubio is only going to get more valuable over the next two years if for no other reason than his current contract is up in two years, relieving the contract buyout issue and making him a considerably cheaper asset. In two years he’ll be 20 years old, effectively a college sophomore, and even more mature and developed as a player and a person. After everyone called him crazy, Kahn is looking like he could still end up with the last laugh since he’s put the Wolves in a very powerful position regarding Ricky Rubio.

The winds of change are blowing through Minneapolis and they bring with them the pleasant scent of hope.

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